Sunday, December 30, 2012
Still, I wasn't going to do a Top 10 post, until my forthcoming novel, Copper Girl, was featured on Top 10 posts here. And here. And here.
So, with out further ado, here are my Top 10 Books of 2012.
1. Palimpsest by Catherynne Valente
In a word, amazing. This is the story of four people who each find their way to a dreamland, via a tattooed map they acquire in a most interesting way. The prose is lush, the imagery vivid, and I just wanted to sink into this world and stay a while.
2. Fire/Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
Ok, so this is two. It's my list, and I can put whatever I want on it.
Anyway, these are the prequel and sequel, respectively, to one of my all time faves, Graceling. In Fire, we are introduced to a land filled with monsters so beautiful you almost don't mind when they rip you to pieces. In Bitterblue, we watch a young girl grow into her birthright as Queen. And, we get bonus Katsa and Po scenes.
3. The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany
By far the oldest title on this list, this should be required reading for anyone who enjoys fantasy; even Tolkien counted Lord Dunsany as an influence. This is the tale of a fairy princess, loved and lost by a mortal man, and his quest to get her back.
4. War for The Oaks by Emma Bull
Some say that this was one of the first urban fantasy novels, back before it was a genre. It tells the story of Eddi, a guitarist in a rock band who falls in with the fey. And, a phouka!
5. Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews
Let's take a moment to discuss this awesome cover - what we don't have is a bimbo contorting herself to show off her boobs and butt. What we do have is a beautiful woman dressed for fighting, which is what Andrea does best. I worried that this would be one of those sidekick novels, but Andrea Nash has proved to be every bit as badass as Kate Daniels.
6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
The author has described this book as the one she was meant to write, and I cannot disagree. It has racing, water horses that might eat or drown their riders, and the requisite kissing.
7. Faery Tales and Nightmares by Melissa Marr
A collection of short stories set in and around her Wicked Lovely series. A must read for fans of Aisling and Seth, not to mention Keenan and Donia.
8. Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
It's no secret that I love all things Tolkien, and this collection of his letters gives one an invaluable peek at the man responsible for so many beautiful stories.
9. Fair Game by Patricia Briggs
Patricia Briggs does it again, with Charles, werewolf assassin, and his Omega mate Anna, tracing serial killers in Boston.
10. Changing Planes by Ursula K. LeGuin
Interesting concept - when one is waiting at the airport to change planes, if the right conditions are met one can change planes - as in take a trip to another dimension. These dimensions include one full of holidays, another where royalty obsessively reads about the lower class in gossip magazines, and many others. All in all, great fun.
Honorable Mention - Inanimate Objects by Kendra Saunders
This gets an Honorable Mention because I personally know the author, so I suppose I could be accused of bias. But, take my word for it, this book rocks. We've got Leo, a glitter covered London artist, his much more rational sister Helen, and a muse that wants to make Leo a star. And, there's Elisha, beautifully broken Elisha, whom I just adored.
Well, there you have it. What were your favorite books of 2012?
Monday, December 3, 2012
Check out the prizes you can win:
GRAND PRIZE Holiday Cheer Away Holiday Giveaway Bag
This is a Rafflecopter giveaway, so - go for it! Good luck!
***Update*** My thingamajig wouldn't work (must be an id 10 t error) so follow this link to enter:
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Below, I've pasted a snippet from Stir the Bones. If you like what you see, pick up the book and find out what happens to Josie, Paul and Bear, as they struggle to cope with the aftermath of a tornado, trapped in what may be a haunted basement.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
With the help of one lone witch, this small group must face off against their deepest fears and the most unholy monsters in a battle where their very souls, the world they live in, and any chance of returning to Hot Topic in one piece is at stake!
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Hi! As a part of this blog hop, I'm to answer ten interview questions about my work in progress. Here goes:
***12/05/2012 update: Morven Westfield has joined the party! Visit her here: http://morvenwestfield.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-next-big-thing-meme.html
***10/17/2012 update: Justine Graykin wanted in on all the fun! Check out her blog here: http://justinegraykin.wordpress.com/ ***
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Friday, October 5, 2012
Firstly, an interview with me was recently posted here:
As you read it, you'll note where I state that within the next five years I'd like to see my dystopian elf series in print. Which leads us to this:
From Publisher's Marketplace: Jennifer Allis Provost's COPPER GIRL, in a world where practicing magic can bring deadly consequences, an elf walks into a girl's dream, forcing her to confront her heritage, to Vikki Ciaffone at Spence City, in a nice deal, for publication in June 2013.
Yep, that;s volume one of the Copper Legacy, a planned four book series. And, there might be a duology along with it. Stay tuned, folks.
(As a side note, the cover has been completed. I can't WAIT to show you!)
Also, I'm now the Marketing Coordinator for Spence City. Check us out here: http://spencecity.com/
You'll notice from the breaking news piece on the home page that the first book we're releasing is Call of the Jersey Devil, by a fellow named Voltaire. Not familiar with him?
Well, you should be. Here's his home on the web: http://www.voltaire.net/
As you can see, there's lots going on. I promise I'll share more as soon as my editor/boss allows it. We don't call her Mighty Maleficent for nothing.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Go ahead. I'll wait.
So yes, Spencer Hill Press is launching two new imprints, Spence City and Spencer Hill Contemporary.
As for the rest of the Big Things, unfortunately my lips must remain sealed. However, here are some clues:
Vikki Ciaffone, who will head up Spence City, is my editor.
As many of you know, I write fantasy.
As you may not know, copper is my favorite metal.
Monday, August 20, 2012
I was a panelist for "Using Fairy Tales In Modern Writing", during which several books and authors were recommended. At the request of audience members, I have compiled a list of said books.
- Gael Baudino; find her work here http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/gael-baudino/
- anthologies edited by Terry Windling and Ellen Datlow, for example The Faery Reel and Snow White, Blood Red http://datlow.com/books.html
- Terry Windling; http://terriwindling.com/
- Mercedes Lackey http://www.mercedeslackey.com/
- Jim C. Hines http://www.jimchines.com/
- Mage by Matt Wagner http://www.mattwagnercomics.com/
- Hellboy (comics and the movies) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hellboy
- Neil Gaiman; specificall mentioned was his Sandman series and American Gods http://neilgaiman.com/
- Audience rec: Sondheim's Finishing the Hat and Look, I Have a Hat, all about the making of Into The Woods http://www.amazon.com/Finishing-Hat-Volume-1/dp/0753522586
What modern writer of fairy tales do you love?
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
For those of you planning to attend, below is my panel schedule. At other times I can be found on Dealer's Row in the Broad Universe room, hawking books, jewelry, and a few paintings.
Friday 7pm: The Broad Universe
We are the voices of women writing science fiction, fantasy and horror, working to Broaden our members' horizons.
Saturday 11am: Using Fairy Tales in Modern Writing
What fairy tale elements can we use in modern fantasy or sci fi writing, and which ones should we leave alone? How can we use these elements in fresh ways? Is it okay to change the lessons, to change the genders? This will not be a tracing of the history of fairy tales, but about making them work for us.
Sunday 10am: Self Publishing
In what ways is Self Publishing more beneficial than using publishing companies? What options are available to self-publishers? Why do some people disrespect it? What's the difference between "vanity" publishing and self-publishing? Discuss these questions plus how to get into and actually self publish.
Sunday 12pm: (2 Hours) Broad Universe Rapid Fire Reading
And, during the Rapid Fire Reading I'll be reading from my latest work, Copper Girl, slated for a June 2013 release. (Yes, this is the Big Thing I've been hinting at. I'll tell you more as soon as I can!)
See you there!
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Me: Your debut novel, Inanimate Objects, follows the life and times of a singularly gifted artist, Leonidas Bondi. How did you come up with Leo?
Kendra: Leo wasn’t in the original draft of the book, actually! I had a writer instead, and the writer was very passive and sort of ironically witty. It was funny at times but I became really frustrated with how passive the guy was, so I axed him from the story and had to start completely over. My best friend posted a picture online of a young Matt Bellamy (singer from Muse) wearing a feather boa and mask, and I sort of laughed to myself and said, “That’s the kind of guy I need in my book.” Later that night I jotted a scene with this beautiful, fashionable guy (nameless at the time) meeting Matilda. The scene is almost word for word preserved in Leo’s introduction chapter. Several months after jotting that scene in a little notebook,I came back to the novel and decided to see what my beautiful, nameless boy could do. He was the key!
Me: When we first meet Leo, he comes off as a self-absorbed artist, indulging in sex, drugs, and other sorts of debauchery. Later on, we learn that he has done some pretty amazing things in order to support himself, and his sister, including prostitution. Why resort to such means? Why not get a job as a waiter, or a paperboy?
Kendra: Leo had both a preternatural sense of his own possibilities and a responsibility that was forced on him from ayoung age (since he and his sister were orphaned relatively early). His ambition to become a successful artist was equally driven by a need to providefor himself and to force his own darkness out of his mind and onto something safer (a canvas, usually). He knew that working as a waiter or paperboy could hurt the mystery that he believed needed to be built around himself. I think, alot like Lady Gaga, Leo studied fame from the point of view that was available to him. Fame, down on his level, was mystery and power and good clothes and luxury.
Rock stars, whether musician or artist or whatever, must be desirable by nature. Earning money through desire allowed him to both provide for himself and sister AND to practice his technique. Seduction would always be as much a part of his career in art as the actual painting aspect. And I do think he needed to break down some of his own lingering walls of identity. This is a guy who, by nature, is veryintrospective and tends towards melancholy. In different circumstances, he might have been some quiet little weirdo who flitted in and out of life in 29 short, lonely years, leaving behind only an apartment full of sad paintings.
This Leo knew he needed teeth to survive, and he needed to sell his own personality, ambition and natural sex appeal. So why not actually make money while doing so? It was uncomfortable, and I'm sure there were times when he would hide out at home, but he faced it as a challenge that needed to be overcome. He wasn't going to waste his good looks or potential art career on being afraid.
Plus, he knew in the back of his head that it would all end up part of his myth one day, part of the story that would grow and change and dance from here to there, from person to person, from biographer to art party.
Me: Amazingly, even after all the debauchery Leo seems none the worse for wear, save for a bit of smudged eyeliner. Is the party boy persona all part of his act? Is there ever ginger ale in his champagne flute, or does he have the constitution of Babe the blue ox?
Kendra: Oh he’s much worse for the wear! The thing is, and we don’t see a lot of this in the book because so little of it is from Leo’s point of view, but he does absolutely take damage from all of this stuff. He probably gets home and falls into bed and sleeps without waking whenever he has a chance. And that air of ‘tuberculosis chic’ as my friend called it… that’s definitely the late nights and drinking and parties hovering close by. Is Leo stronger than most of us? Oh yeah. And he’s loads stronger than me! But there’s definitely a sense that he can’t keep at this pace much longer or things are going to burn down or he’s going to burn out. Where the book begins is sort of the lead-in to that tipping point. He’s a clever maestro, and he’s known he can’t push himself forever. Probably his greatest danger in all of this is a reckless curiosity about things he hasn’t consumed or encountered yet.
He drinks less than we think, avoids caffeine and is a vegetarian. But hand him a colored bottle of unknown liquid content and he’s gonna down it. And if you have four of them? Yep, he’s gonna try them all.
Me: Leo is neither modest nor unworldly, yet he turns down Matilda's advances. Is it ever wise for an artist to refuse their muse?
Kendra: That’s something I think about a lot! I have a lot of muses of my own (those aforementioned ‘tuberculosis chic’ types of boys) and can’t help thinking sometimes it’s better to have your muse at a distance. Artists and writers see things through their own unique lens and sometimes it’s more useful for us to only see what we want to see. But then, I suppose sometimes- as people and not as artists- we need to see the other side. We need to see the temper tantrums or the ugliness, the ordinary side of our muses.
Leo was able to see Matilda’s ugly side early on, because he’s just as much of a manipulator as she is! He turned her down because it kept her interest,which was wise in that particular situation. But I like to think it was also because he has a few lines he won’t cross (I’ll have to get back to you on what exactly those lines are).
Me: Leo and Helen's mother apparently committed suicide some time before the main story begins, plunging the siblings into orphanhood. This admittedly awful event seems to have affected them in opposite ways: Helen gets the stable, 'respectable' job, and Leo goes artist/rockstar. Am I correct in my assessment, or does their mother's death have less (or more) of an impact on their actions?
Kendra: Actually,interestingly enough, we never know what caused their mother’s death, but Ireally like your theory. (Especially considering the somewhat spoiler-laden issues of the familial burdens the Bondis carry). Helena always felt a bit disconnected from her mother and I think preternaturally felt more mature than her mother. She wanted to right things by being a bit more traditional, practical. Leo wanted to right things by making it big, however was availableto him. It certainly did egg both of them on to do things they wouldn’t have had to otherwise (including nicking breakfast from hotels and lying about their ages, etc). Of the two of them, Leo took after their mother far more, especially in terms of having a rather different grip on reality. He just had the cleverness and ambition to make it into something bigger.
Me: So, Elisha. Or as I like tosay, Ell ISH Ah. Truly, an excellent blend of strong masculinity and tortured soul. Please, please tell me we'll see more of him.
Kendra: Oh good Lord, Elisha has been my baby for so long. A lot of times I look forward to people reading the book mostly because Elisha is the surprise of the book. He’s got all of this angst and all of this dark poetry to him that just builds and builds. He’s a man on a mission for revenge but his revenge was created from a broken heart. How can you not love that? Plus he’s so entitled and English and sort of a bad boy and I just love writing people like that haha.
He’s definitely going to make some more appearances in future works, don’t worry. He’ll never fully leave me. Even if he finds happiness, he’s always going to be onsome sort of quest. This guy is semi-immortal, so there will always be more love, angst and missions for him out there.
Kendra L. Saunders is the author of magic realism novel Inanimate Objects, host of the quirky literary podcast 13 1/2 Minutes, marketing coordinator for Spencer Hill Press, Jazz-Age/all things England enthusiast and sometimes-roadie for her steampunk friends The Vagabonds. She's been published in Snakeskin Magazine, Premier Bride Magazine and Snakeskin Magazine and writes regularly for Pure Textuality and IPMnation.com. For more information about her, as well as helpful writing tips, visit www.kendralsaunders.com
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Being that kelpie's are quite dangerous, this meant we needed a stand-in. Enter Sue, Horse Mistress Extraordinaire, who let us invade her yard and photograph Dancer. Following are a few of the bazillion pictures I snapped:
Yep, she's a quick one
Rusty, Dancer's barn mate
Sue hosing down our star
As for the final cover, it is now in the hands of the capable folks at Spencer Hill Press. Stay tuned for the reveal! And, don't forget to pick up a copy of The Kelpie by Trisha Wooldridge, available December 2013.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
In my opinion, that pretty much sums it up. Just becuse information is available in a new medium, doesn't mean that the old medium dries up and blows away. I mean, the first drums were created thousands of years ago, but the advent of the synthesizer didn't render drums obsolete.
Here's a post from my prior blog that went up 02/22/2012, in which I compare ebooks to digital photographs. Let me know what you think, either in the comments below, on FB or Twitter.
sorts of new & exciting questions. Most of them seem to be about the
process of converting a "regular" book to an ebook - no, I won't bore you
with the drudgery of formatting (and there are others far more qualified to
speak on the subject).
The other heavy subject is one that's hotly debated of late: are ebooks
going to replace printed books? The situation does seem dire, what with
small indies falling prey to those digital pages, and even giants like
Borders going out of business. Will ebooks eventually replace printed books
In a word, no. Not within my lifetime, and probably not ever.
Consider digital photography. In the old days (read: ten years ago) we had
to ration our 35mm film OMG - remember film???) while we were on vacation, lug around lead-lined camera bags so the airport scanning devices wouldn't wreck our negatives, and
spend a small fortune developing it. Now, we click with abandon,
chronicling life's moments down to the second.
As awesome as digital photographs are, they have not totally supplanted
real, printed pictures. The ones you hold in your hand, hang on your wall,
tuck inside your wallet. We still want real, tangible memories, not just a
few pixels flitting by on a screen. Are we selective about what we print?
Yes. But then again, now we have the power to only print selected images,
and we can reprint at will, whether in the privacy of our home office or
local drugstore's photo kiosk. Or, umm, at work on the really nice commercial-grade color copier.
Flexibility is good.
Yes, some companies went out of business as a result of widespread digital
photography, but they refused to change with the times. You can't
stubbornly adhere to an outdated practice, or product. The consumer always
wants something new and shiny.
And as for print books, they aren't going anywhere. I don't care if I can
get it faster/cheaper/with exclusive content on my ereader, there are some
books that I want - need - to have in a tangible format. I love to turn
the page, run my fingertips across the type, and reconnect with characters.
Ebooks are like digital photographs: new and shiny. Ereaders are fun, and
we as consumers love gadgets. Are ebooks here to stay? Yes. Will some
publishers suffer? Most likely, but I wonder if any suffering will be due
their stubborn adhereance to an outdated, geriatric business model that should have been
polished up decades ago.
Maybe they just need to shake the cobwebs out of their
corners, and maybe ebooks are just the excuse to do it.
Friday, July 6, 2012
Also, Scott makes a point of reviewing independent authors. I highly recommend following his blog, both for the new authors and his succinet reviews.
Thanks again, Scott!
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Okay, maybe that's not exactly how Pride and Prejudice begins, but you get the point. If you, humble author, want your work to be even moderately successful, you'd best find yourself an editor.
Now, I've worked with my fair share of editors, and let me tell you, they are not all created equally. Some are fools, some are passably competent with grammar, and some--the rare few--are worth their weight in gold.
Disclaimer: I will not name the editors, or what projects of mine they worked on. Every editor I've ever worked with (save one) truly did have my best interests at heart, even if we weren't quite compatible.
And that, my friends, is the key: compatability. If at all possible, you need to find an editor with similar tastes to yours, hopefully with a similar woking style. For instance, I'm a long sentence writer. I'm well aware that there's nothing wrong with this, being that it's a matter of style. However, I had one memorable experience with an editor who favored short sentences, a la Hemingway.
She took out all my commas and semicolons, and made my sentences like eight words long.
Was it grammatically correct? Yes.
Did I hate it? Yes.
Did I spend the next week re-lengthening my sentences? Yes.
Was that childish? Well, no. I told her what I was doing, and she agreed that sentence length is mainly a matter of style. After reviewing the finished mss. she even confirmed that my sentence structure was grammatically sound. I, in a feat of self control that nearly caused an aneurysm, refrained from asking her why she chopped up my lovely sentences in the first place. After all, I knew the answer: style.
I've since had many more adventures in editing, including a memorable face-to-face session when I was asked, "You do know what a semicolon's for, don't you?" (I'd used one incorrectly. Perfectly reasonable question, but at the time I was speechless.)
I've also had the pleasure of working with editors I absolutely adore, mostly because they are compatible with me. Not only with my long sentences, but with my wacky, lack of a schedule lifestyle, and they don't mind the gallon of coffee I ingest every day, or the constant stories about the dog and Wonder Twins.
I've yet to get an editor to bring me ice cream, but I remain hopeful.
What are some of your editing adventures?
Sunday, June 17, 2012
This weekend was jam-packed with events, holiday and otherwise: we had Flag Day, Fathers Day, along with a plethora of barbecues, and, for good or ill, visiting relatives.
So, how is next weekend gonna top that?
For starters, head on over to Annie's Book Stop in Worcester, MA, on Friday, June 22 to hear members of Broad Universe (including me!) read from their work. Here's the event description I
Broad Universe is an international non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating, honoring, and promoting women who write science fiction, fantasy, horror—and everything in between!
For more information on Broad Universe visit their website at www.broaduniverse.org."
Free entertainment, refreshments, and discussion of adventures. Sounds like a no brainer!
Learn more about Annie's Book Stop, Worcester's finest independent bookstore, here, and like their Facebook page here